There are certain trends on the horizon in higher education that we should be expecting and embracing. Jim Hundrieser, associate managing principal at the Association of Government Boards, explains that cutting costs to meet budgets is only a temporary fix and not a long lasting solution. He suggests, rather, that institutions embrace the natural direction that higher education will be flowing in order to use it to their advantage.
Four trends starting to take place in higher education are the unbundling of higher education, college transfers becoming the new norm, a return to liberal arts, and the infusion of augmented reality.
Hundrieser tells Education Dive that “students are no longer buying that whole college experience.” He uses the example of buying a few songs instead of an entire album, stating that things like credentialing, certificates and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are here to stay. MOOCs still have the potential to very much alter traditional higher education.
Speaking to the fact that transfer students are the new normal, the majority of college students will attend two or more colleges during their college careers, according to the above Education Dive article. Also, the pool of adult learners is larger than the number of high school graduates going into college at the moment. These learners, though, have a different set of needs that must be addressed. They “require a higher operational speed, service and convenience, and institutions that dedicate marketing specifically to these students have a higher success rate at enrolling them.”
Mark Cuban, tech magnate and Dallas Mavericks owner, recently advocated the liberal arts for students seeking lucrative careers in the near future, explaining that machines will soon “replace workers in the processing of data and information, and that professionals who excel in communication, language and innovation will be in high-demand.” He suggests that gravitation back to the liberal arts will most likely occur as technology becomes more and more advanced.
Finally, an infusion of augmented reality will occur, according to Hundrieser. He states, “augmented reality is literally going to transform higher education.” But what is augmented reality?
Augment.com explains that augmented reality “turns the environment around you into a digital interface by placing virtual objects in the real world, in real-time.”
The three main categories of augmented reality are 3D viewers, browsers and gaming. Video gaming industries are beginning to adopt augmented reality in their products and players can immerse themselves into the game while using their actual surroundings. An example is Pokemon Go, which allows users to catch virtual Pokemon while walking around in their own real world. Augmented reality browsers add contextual information to a user’s camera display. For example, if someone takes a photo of a historic landmark, the augmented reality browser will automatically display information about the landmark such as its history. Finally, augmented reality 3D viewers allow someone to place life-size 3D models into their environments. If someone wanted to see how a bookshelf would look in the living room, augmented reality 3D viewers make that possible.
ProctorU, the world’s largest test proctoring firm, provides online test monitoring for both individuals taking advantage of MOOCs and adult learners (as well as students of every age). They provide customer service, convenience and ease to all of their users. With the busy climate of today’s society, having the option to test at home at any time of the day or night is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity.